First weekend of year offers educational experiences

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is again kicking off the new year with a "Pay-What-You-Can" Weekend.

Happy New Year, all!

It's hard to believe that 2015 is upon us, but as the saying goes, "Time flies when you're having fun!" And that's certainly been true for us here at Charleston Scene.

That being said, not every week can be bursting at the seams with happenings, and this week is a perfect example. While this week is a quiet one in the events world (I'm pretty sure everyone is still recovering from the holidays), things start to crank up next week, so enjoy the serenity while you can.

And while the calendar may be sparse, there's still inexpensive - and educational - fun to be had for those looking to get out of the house.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is kicking off the new year with a "Pay-What-You-Can" Weekend.

For the fourth year in a row, normal parking and admission fees will be waived on Saturday and Sunday, with everyone invited to explore the museum for any price they can afford.

"After the holiday season, many families are usually a little tight with money," said Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette. "We want to give those folks a chance to enjoy our wonderful museum without having to worry about their financial situations. Some will be able to pay more than others and that is just fine. This is a program we created to give something back to the community that supports us throughout the year."

Parking charges also will be based on what the visitors are able to spend.

The normal museum admission rate is $20 for adults, while parking usually costs $5. As always, members of the military in uniform and children under age 6 get in free.

Each ticket grants access to the aircraft carrier Yorktown, the World War II destroyer Laffey, the Cold War-era submarine Clamagore, the Medal of Honor Museum and the new Vietnam Experience Exhibit.

The Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is at 40 Patriots Point Road in Mount Pleasant and is open daily from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

For more information, go to www.patriotspoint.org or call 881-5984.

Another local landmark that is offering a community appreciation special is Middleton Place.

After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, as a way to say "thank you," the National Historic Landmark is offering half-price adult admission for the month of January.

Admission includes access to the gardens and stableyards, with complimentary half-hour garden tours given on the hour from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Home to "America's oldest landscaped gardens," the Garden Club of America has called the 65 acres "the most important and most interesting garden in America."

Also included with general admission is the "Beyond the Fields" tour (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.), which explores the life of enslaved people and their importance to the rice culture, and the "Meet the Breeds" tour, where guests will discover the numerous heritage breed animals who live in the stableyards.

Admission to Middleton Place, 4300 Ashley River Road, is regularly $28 for adults, $15 for students and $10 for ages 6-13, with kids 5 and under free.

For more, call 556-6020 or go to www.middletonplace.org.

The Lowcountry Civil War Show will return this weekend for a 22nd year, offering attendees the chance to peruse more than 250 tables of authentic weapons and memorabilia.

The once-a-year event will have some of the South's top dealers and collectors on site displaying authentic Civil War guns, swords, relics, books and artifacts. Experts will be on hand offering free appraisals of antiques and other items.

The show will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday at the Omar Shrine Temple, 176 Patriots Point Road, in Mount Pleasant.

Admission is $8 for adults, with children 12 and under getting in free.

For more information, contact Mike Kent at 770-630-7296 or at mike@mkshows.com.